Nonprofits invited to apply for $3 million in human services fundingCounty commissioners, community foundation and DHS partner to award ARPA funds
Greensburg, PA, April 3, 2023... Human services nonprofits providing direct service in Westmoreland County are encouraged to apply by May 12 at 5 p.m. for grants starting at $150,000.
The $3 million funding pool, known as the Human Services American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Program, will be distributed by The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC) in partnership with the Westmoreland County Commissioners office and Westmoreland County Department of Human Services.
"Our partnership with The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and our efforts to utilize ARPA funds are part of our ongoing commitment to creating positive change in our community,” said Westmoreland County Commissioner Chair Sean Kertes in announcing the partnership. “We believe that, by focusing on mental health and expanding access to essential services, we can help build a stronger, more resilient community for everyone. We are excited to continue working with our partners to drive meaningful impact and create a bright future."
According to Department of Human Services Director Robert Hamilton, “The effects of COVID on our county cannot be overstated. Our partnership with The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County will get these funds directly to nonprofits with the knowledge, expertise and direct experience to make an impact.”
In a 2022 survey by Westmoreland Community Action, 71% of residents responded that they or their family were personally affected by the pandemic. Many also reported a loss of income, childcare changes, increased depression, and anxiety and isolation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on mental health, and we recognize the urgent need for support and resources in our community,” Westmoreland County Commission Vice Chair Douglas Chew said. “Through our partnership with The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, we are investing in mental health initiatives that will help us recover and heal. Our goal is to create a stronger, more resilient community that can overcome any challenge."
McCrae Martino, executive director of CFWC, worked closely with the County Commissioners and DHS to develop guidelines and a request for proposal. Martino credited leadership by the commissioners and DHS in making this program possible.
“The County Commissioners and DHS recognized that regional nonprofits would have the boots-on-the-ground knowledge of community needs, and that the community foundation could help guide nonprofits through the funding process. Our team at CFWC brings community expertise to the effort to help nonprofits apply for and access the funds that the people they serve need to regain their footing,” she said.
Human services organizations providing the following are encouraged to apply:
- Mental health support and prevention, including crisis support and mobile crisis response.
- Nonprofits focused on homelessness, including both emergency shelter and affordable housing challenges.
- Services for low-income children and youth; about 14% of youth in Westmoreland County are living in poverty.
- Workforce-development initiatives to help lead students to local jobs.
A committee of community leaders, Foundation staff and experts from the Department of Human Services will evaluate applications and make recommendations to the county commissioners, who will provide final review and approval.
“Everyone deserves access to quality mental health care, regardless of their background or circumstances,” Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerelli Thrasher said. “That's why we are proud to partner with The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and utilize ARPA funds to create and expand mental health programs in our community. By working together, we can break down barriers to care and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy, happy life."
Funding decisions are expected by mid-July and nonprofits will have until Dec. 31, 2024, to utilize the grants.
To help nonprofits successfully navigate the application process, CFWC staff will also provide technical support, including information sessions, FAQs, and training in the guidelines and requirements for receiving and spending federal funding. CFWC staff will answer funding questions through April 21.
Applicants must be headquartered in Westmoreland County, provide services in the county, or use the funding to expand service into the county. New programs or innovations to existing programs are eligible.
Westmoreland County was awarded $105.3 million in ARPA funds in 2021 for local recovery efforts and to support families and businesses struggling with related public health and economic impacts. Specifically, ARPA funds are earmarked for human services, food insecurity, school-based workforce development programs, and water and sewer upgrades. The County Commissioners allocated $3 million of those funds to the Department of Human Services for distribution.
HOW TO APPLY
More information is available on the Foundation’s website. Nonprofits are encouraged to attend one of two Zoom information sessions, which will provide further details on how to apply. Registration is required for the Monday, April 10, session at 3 p.m. here or the Tuesday, April 11 session at 11 a.m. here.
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